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Sports Business Simulations - What We Do

Sports Business Simulations produces Internet-based simulations of sports teams and leagues for use in the high school and college classroom or as sports fantasy games.

SBS Oakland Baseball Simworld

The Oakland Baseball Simworld was originally created to evaluate how new stadium proposals would impact the business of running the Oakland Athletics. The equation base was developed when Zennie Abraham, its creator, was Economic Advisor to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris in 1998 (he served in that capacity from 1995 to 2001).

That year, the Mayor asked Mr. Abraham to find potential buyers for the A's franchise. At the request of one of the potential owners, Mr. Abraham created a five-year system dynamics model of the business dynamics of the Athletics organization. That simulation became the basis for the Oakland Baseball Simworld.

The Oakland Baseball Simworld consists of 90 decisions that represent the macro business aspect of running a real MLB baseball organization. The sim was built using the paradigm of System Dynamics , and using a programming language and servers constructed by Forio Business Simulations. When Mr. Abraham met University of San Francisco Professor Dan Rascher in June of 2002, he expressed an interest in Abraham's simulation work; on January 23, 2003, they established Sports Business Simulations. The Oakland Sim has been used in several major universities.

The Oakland Sim has no peer, and SBS can quickly adjust it online to meet your class needs. In 2005, it will come with an Internet-based test for students.

SBS XFL Simworld

The XFL Simworld was the first online simulation developed by SBS CEO Zenophon Abraham, in 2001. It started as an idea called "The NFL Model."

In 2001, Mr. Abraham partnered with Forio and created this sim which asks the student to make the right decisions to keep the XFL in business for over one year. (In reality it lasted just one year.) Like the Oakland sim, it can be rapidly adjusted to your needs.

What is a simulation?

A simulation is a powerful tool for explaining actions and phenomena in society is to assemble representations of the observed actions for review and evaluation. This in its simplest form is called a model.

A simulator is an advanced type of model that generally takes the form of some set of equations or materials designed to mimic the behavior and structure of the environment or thing it represents.

Models, unlike simulators, can be static (like a model airplane). But a simulator is designed to produce an action much like what it is designed to represent (a simulated airplane cockpit is designed to work like a real one). The most common example are airplane simulators. Pilots use these devices to learn how to fly large jumbo jets.

These simulators allow the user to try techniques and make errors that would be costly and even life-ending in the real world.

Simulators have evolved beyond use in aviation and taken on many forms. But simulation as a field has grown with the advent of personal computers. With software that enabled one to build complex forecasts of financial and work process patterns, simulation entered a new industry: business management. But even with the emergence of the use of simulation in business, the worlds of sports and business and simulation did not intersect.

Why simulate the sports business?

Sports is such an integral part of culture, and the focus so much on the accomplishments of the individual player, that the public seldom recognizes it as an industry, particularly in America.

The reality is that sports, by some estimates, is between $200 billion and $400 billion in size. A typical professional football game in America will draw more people than live in many towns, and employ 1,000 people. Some athletes -- pro basketball player Michael Jordan offering the best example -- command multi-million-dollar salaries, large game attendance figures, and annual product endorsement contracts greater than $10 million in some cases.

Sports stadiums cost between $10 million and as much as $1 billion. In the American context, these large facilities are paid for with a combination of government and private sector money. This fact alone is controversial, raising the question of the best use of tax-payer dollars.

From the perspective of the owners of the teams that need new stadiums, paying for these costly facilities without some financing partner places all of the cost burden on their organization, hampering their ability to afford high-priced athletes (generally the reason why the owners feel they need a new stadium).

Because of the enormous expenditures and revenues commonly associated with modern sports, and the occasionally complex interplay of public and private interests, the sports industry provides a rich subject ground for simulation. But simulation is not commonly used in the sports industry, beyond simple spreadsheets which are primitive forms of simulation. Where simulation is applied in sports, it is to mimic the actions on the playing field, like Madden NFL 200X, by EA Sports. Indeed, the vast majority of sports simulations are of the playing field, and not the business itself.

Moreover, while sports management and economics classes are growing in number around the world, there is no web-based tool designed to permit the student to simulate how sports teams and leagues behave from a business standpoint. That's the reason for the development of the products of Sports Business Simulations.

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